Posts Tagged: ‘Guatemala’

Cast Iron Canoe: 2017 Edition

May 31, 2017 Posted by Deb

Namekagon River

Namekagon River

A traditional canoe trip that started decades ago and which we’ve been a part of for many years. Our sailing life has kept us away too long, but we made it back this year. Old sailing friends, Forrest and Yvonne on s/v Nazdrowie, who we met in the Dominican Republic in the 1990s introduced us to the group; and it has been a party ever since. This year we picked the Namekagon and Saint Croix rivers over the three-day Memorial Day holiday weekend.

Tent City

Tent City

e

We Know How to Fill a Canoe

The weather started out great and stayed better than the forecast for three days. We did have rain and hail, but we built a tarp city and we’re pretty much impervious to bad weather. True to Cast Iron tradition, we had two Dutch ovens, plenty of liquid refreshments, and a wrap-up five-pound bacon fest on the final morning that forced Deb to stay upwind. No injuries to report other than a number of tick bites that sent Deb to the doctor for the anti-Lyme routine.

Tarp City Going Up

Tarp City Going Up

Hail On the River

Hail On the River

We did have a longer than normal 22-mile day due to full campsites that featured a 1.5 mile sprint to beat out another group to 12.3 mile campsite. Unfortunately, Deb and I won the race but missed the campsite sign. The sprint pretty much turned our arms to noodles for the next two days. Oh well.

Land Ho

We look forward to the transition both from the ocean to land in the spring and back to the boat in the fall. With each move, we have a high energy vision of what we’re going to do “this time.” Yeah, right. We seem to forget that the seven-plus days it takes to put the boat away and the exposure to air conditioning and airplane air usually leaves us half dead with colds. This switch was no exception but we did get a couple of days of Casa Grande Palm Creek pickleball in before the bad colds really set in. We motored north in the RV on a three Wal*Mart run with 102-degree fevers. It is now late May and we’re just barely back on our feet again. And hey, it’s cold up here in May.

Wanna Go Outside at 100 Degrees and 100% Humidity?

Wanna Go Outside at 100 Degrees and 100% Humidity?

Plans

Our plans change weekly but our high-energy vision included an extended summer on land with biking, pickleball, a variety of water events, camping, and other north country fun stuff. Now we’re toying with the idea of getting rid of all the mobile stuff including the RV and Neytiri and looking for a home or a townhome. Our future yacht broker is begging us to bring Neytiri back to Florida again and to do so immediately. That ain’t happening but we may get back on the boat early in the fall and sail her back to the U.S.

So … we’re going house hunting at 10:00 tomorrow morning after moving the final leg of our RV trip from Melcher-Dallas, Iow,a to Woodbury, MN. For us, home ownership again is a big and scary change.

Toys Are Out in Iowa

Toys Are Out in Iowa

Celebrating Hayden's Soccer Win with Dorothy, Cindy, and Halle

Celebrating Hayden’s Soccer Win with Dorothy, Cindy, and Halle

Late Entry: The Famous Roatan Yacht Club

We thought it was famous and very nice 22 years ago. We were worried that we weren’t dressed well enough to go into the restaurant. It seemed very British. We had just finished a long ten-day passage from Cartegena, Columbia, somewhere around November, 1995; and we weren’t too presentable. We stored our dinghy there during our last visit four years ago even though it had been closed for new owners and renovations. The carpenters were banging away.

Roatan French Harbor Yacht Club

Roatan French Harbor Yacht Club

Little did we know how far the Yacht Club had fallen. This year, the property has been seized for money laundering and the official government “Stay Out” signs are up. We had to find another dinghy dock to get to town and our Plan B four years ago was the shrimping/fish station. They’ve had a very bad fishing season and we were advised to stay out of that area. So … by word of mouth we found a lady in a small house down from the police station car graveyard with a little dilapidated dock on a shoreline filled with floating garbage. The routine is to hand her 50 Lems (2 bucks) and walk to town.

Only Sign From the Street

Only Sign From the Street

Murder at the Yacht Club: A German Hotel Owner is gunned down at his Business
Nicolai Winter, the German owner of the French Harbour Yacht Club was gunned down at his hotel by a man in this thirties, presumed to be from the mainland.

On March 6, 2007, around 9:30pm, the murderer checked into a room at the hotel and came back to ask for Winter’s assistance in opening the room door. While Winter with three other Yacht Club staff walked towards the room, the assailant pulled out a 9mm gun and shot Winter several times. The assailant then fled the property on foot.
According to Yacht club staff, Winter was alive for some time after the shooting. Bay Islands Voice was notified of the shooting and called Preventiva Police, DGIC and Ambulance in Dixon Cove. No one picked-up the phone. After a visit to the Dixon Cove ambulance station the attendant said “none of the vehicles are working.”
The frontier police and DGIC police arrived at the crime scene 30 and 60 minutes after the shooting, but no immediate search of surrounding area was done and no road blocks were set up. The murderer, presumed by the police to be a contracted killer, was not apprehended.  Winter bought the Yacht Club in 2004 for in excess of one million dollars. The legal future of the Yacht Club is far from certain. According to Honduran law, in absence of a testament, Winter’s closest relatives: his mother, or his sister will inherit the property.
According to Felipe Danzilo, a lawyer involved in the sale of the Yacht Club, Winter did not yet make all the payments on the property. The previous owners of the Yacht Club: Marcel Hauser and Peter Beuth, still hold a mortgage on the Yacht Club.

Within a week of Winter’s death the old owners of the hotel brought the “Pluribus” company owned by Daniel O’Connor, a American business owner from Tegucigalpa, to serve as a “safe keeper” of the Yacht Club business interests. O’Connor made efforts to assure the continuous functioning of the business: that the employees received their salaries, hotel stayed open and he plans on having the Yacht Club’s restaurant open by Semana Santa. “Every business has a value as long as it is running,” said O’Connor.

O’Connor, who has lived in Honduras for 12 years, was shocked by the lack of concern about the murder displayed by local business community and local business leaders. “This is disappointing in a community that prides itself on being tourism oriented,” says O’Connor. “This will bring a negative impact on tourism here.”

Source :  http://www.bayislandsvoice.com/issue-v5-4.htm

Rio Dulce Chisme

January 20, 2017 Posted by Deb

We had an article published in the Rio Dulce Chisme on our adventure to Lago Isabel :

http://riodulcechisme.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1371&Itemid=1

FB_IMG_1484924469109

 

 

Lost on Board

January 3, 2017 Posted by Deb

Chris Stanley from Seakist Services picked us up at Bruno’s bar and restaurant and took us the 20-plus kilometers to our boat in Cayo Quemado (Burnt Key). The annual task of remembering where we put everything and deciding where all the new stuff should go started that evening. It didn’t go well. Major items (chargers, VHF radios, and flashlights) were AWOL and we were ripping the bilges and lockers apart trying to find them. On a whim on day 2 we decided to look in the metal computer briefcase and the search was over. We apparently decided to use the briefcase for a Faraday box in the event of a lightning strike and failed to make a note of that. So … a repeat of the story from three years earlier, but then it was the oven.

Cayo Quemado and Texas Mike’s

The night before we left we celebrated at Mike’s new bar and restaurant. He was fileting freshly caught Cobia as we walked in. They have a good thing going at Mike’s and he draws an exotic crowd … too bad we missed the New Years Eve party there. We were off the next morning and stopped at Tom’s place called Quemado Sails to install the lazy jacks, main and main battens, headsail, and a new mainsail halyard block. We also remembered that we had stored all our battens at his shop earlier that year and all of us had forgotten that.

QuemadoSails

Halfway across El Golfete (a very wide and long part of the Rio Dulce) we ran into Flying Fish. We had been monitoring their arrival in Guatemala from Germany and kind of thought we would miss them. We have been with them on and off since Panama. We had our fenders on and the two boats rafted up right in the middle of the lake for a mini-reunion.

NeytiriFlyingFish

Putting Neytiri Away for the Sixth Time

June 16, 2016 Posted by Deb

We’ve decommissioned in St. Martin, Curacao, Guatemala, Georgia, Florida, and now Guatemala again. There’s no escaping the fact that it takes seven to ten days of really fun work like pulling heavy sails down, oiling anchor chain, heads, and other wonderful jobs. We took breaks and hit the pool at NanaJuana often but the happy hours were lonely until the last day there when boats started pouring in for hurricane season. That was nice. We finally did the hike at Hacienda Tijax and our guide said we were the best “old people” she had seen for dealing with the heat and humidity. For us, it was cool in the jungle compared to working on a boat. Once we moved to our final storage location in Cayo Quemado, the air conditioning was stowed and we cooked at 97°F with 87% humidity for the final teardown.

Oiling the Anchor Chain in the Guatemala Heat

Oiling the Anchor Chain in the Guatemala Heat

NanaJuana Pool Time

NanaJuana Pool Time

Swing Bridge at Hacienda Tijax

Swing Bridge at Hacienda Tijax

Found a Spot for a Skinny Dip

Found a Spot for a Skinny Dip

Old People Hikers

Old People Hikers

Saturday Market in Fronteras

Saturday Market in Fronteras

How to Cross the Road

How to Cross the Road

Tucked Away for Another Day

Tucked Away for Another Day

Honduras

Deb pieced together a cab to San Pedro Sula in Honduras followed by a flight to Phoenix via Dallas.

Trip from Rio Dulce to San Pedro Sula in Honduras

Trip from Rio Dulce to San Pedro Sula in Honduras

Breakfast Under Coca-Cola Mountain??

Breakfast Under Coca-Cola Mountain??

We had a two-hour window to switch planes, and we missed by about 12 hours. It’s funny that we made all our sailing deadlines for three months and a little storm over Dallas blew the endgame. We waited until 2:00 a.m. for a crew to show up for our plane; and as they walked up to applause from the crowd, they announced that they had “timed out” and the flight was cancelled. We found a hotel for the night and cancelled our reservations for a car and hotel in Phoenix. They were pretty nice about refunding some of our money. The next day we slept in and did our first UBER ride to the airport. It was $45 for a taxi to the hotel, and we split a $16 dollar fair back to the airport the next day with UBER. Wow!

Casa Grande

Both the town and the RV were right where we left them. The difference was that Palm Creek, where we did the early winter last year, was a ghost town. We found the odd human at the pool from time to time but 119°F for three days kept the few that still lived in the RV park inside. We ran 48 amps of A/C around the clock and the refrigerator pretty much gave up trying. It was nice to be back in the land of big box stores but the ghost town RV Park had us feeling like we late getting out of Dodge. We headed up the hill (8% grade) to Flagstaff and the V10 got a workout. We did not need A/C again until we got out into the flats of New Mexico and Kansas.

An Entire Wall at Palm Creek Labelled Romance

An Entire Wall at Palm Creek Labelled Romance

Lake Afton in Kansas - Almost Home

Lake Afton in Kansas – Almost Home

Propane Fill - Short Hose Workaround

Propane Fill – Short Hose Workaround

Staging in Iowa

We stop for a week or so at the pole barn in Iowa where we store all our summer toys. Oh … and the odd car and van. This year we’re extending the layover to attend a birthday party for the kids of nieces and nephews. It feels like they were kids themselves just a few years ago. Tick Tick.

Our Private Trail Got Popular. Great Western Trail from Martinsdale to Des Moines

Our Private Trail Got Popular. Great Western Trail from Martinsdale to Des Moines

Calorie-Positive Biking at Cummins Tap – Great Western Trail

Calorie-Positive Biking at Cummins Tap – Great Western Trail

Deb Even Took Time Help Out with Bible School

Deb Helped Out with Vacation Bible School

Sunday Pool Day with the Family in Iowa

Sunday Pool Day with the Family in Iowa

Belize and Guatemala: Before and After

February 17, 2014 Posted by Deb

Thought it would be fun to match up a few of the old shots from 1996 on Sanity with our current activities on Neytiri. We don’t comment on the effect of 18 years on the people in these shots … was that really us?

ChucksHair

ChuckDebLakeAtitlan

ChuckBilgeSanityNeytiri

ChuckWetSuitBeforeAfter

DebTikalRendezvous

BoatsBeforeAfter

On To Belize

December 20, 2013 Posted by Deb

We finally grabbed a two-day window that promised no rain but no wind as well. The forecasts were right and we saw our first sun in weeks. It was an excellent trip motoring in flat calm over the speed bump and left to Belize. Our only regret was that we were motoring in one of the best sailing countries we have ever seen.

Small World Story Number 44

We started running into Rio Dulce immigration shuffle folks literally minutes after dropping our hook in Placencia. Peter from Rendezvous gave us a whirlwind tour of Placencia and we got the answers to the basic new arrival questions of “where to put the dinghy,” “where to put garbage,” “where to get laundry done,” and “where to get water, fuel, food.”

Mini Regatta as We Pull Into Placencia Belize

Mini Regatta as We Pull Into Placencia Belize

Peter introduced us to his new crew member, Phillipe, a French Canadian. Just a week before we had done a rare Skype call to an old friend (Richard) in St. Martin and he mentioned that a guy named Phillipe, who had crewed with him for a number of deliveries, was hanging out at Bruno’s in the Rio Dulce. We looked and never found him in the Rio but smacked right into him in Placencia. It’s great when that happens. The offshoot is that when Phillipe texted that he ran into us, Richard got him a gig on a delivery he’s doing to Tahiti.

Chicken-Loving Lunch Companion in Placencia

Chicken-Loving Lunch Companion

One of the Caribbean's Amazing Signs -- Ch

One of the Caribbean’s Amazing Signs

Christmas Light Parade First Night in Belize

Christmas Light Parade First Night in Belize

Placencia greeted us with three days of mostly rain and some of the coldest temperatures we’ve had excluding the mountains. The changes to Placencia in the 18 years we’ve been gone are total. We did not recognize a single building or landmark other than the beach. We also found only Diet Mountain Dew … damn.

San Pedro on Ambergris Caye, the far north of Belize, was a three-day sail, moving the boat from around 9:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. only because it’s reef country. The trades finally kicked in with sunshine interrupted by the odd 30-knot squall. The final day we had two reefs in the main and half a headsail, and we were doing eight knots in six and seven feet of water. Shades of the Bahamas and a bit nerve wracking. We did not perform as well as in the old days or on charter cats, getting ourselves in thin water far more often than we should have. But … there’s Mountain Dew everywhere here.

Neytiri Bobbing at Anchor just off San Pedro Town

Neytiri Bobbing at Anchor just off San Pedro Town

Old Favorite Bar on Ambergris Caye

Old Favorite Bar on Ambergris Caye

Company

We are turning Neytiri from a two-person boat into a six person boat for three rounds of company as well as dealing with the leftovers from months of rain. We have green stuff growing on the boom, green and black on the lines, rust on the stainless, fender marks on the hull, and the barnacles have started again. Merry Christmas.

Guatemala Wrap Up

December 17, 2013 Posted by Deb

Down to four Mountain Dews now. We have heard rumors that Belize has the habit.

Guatemala greeted our exit plans with day after day of rain. Despite the weather, we had several chances to say Hi and Bye to our friends on Casa del Mar and others. Once again we found ourselves in second at trivia night going into the final question. Once again we would have won had we gotten the final question right. It was multiple choice for “how many kilometers from the castle to the bar at Livingston (they call the bar a speed bump around the Rio) and the multiple choices were every number between 20 and 50 (thanks). The correct answer was 43 and we guessed 47.

Last Jungle Shower at Mar Marine

Last Jungle Shower at Mar Marine

Trivia At tHacienda Tijax with Judy on Quest and Peter on Rendevous

Trivia At Hacienda Tijax with Judy on Quest and Peter on Rendezvous

Music at Backpackers from a Michigander Cruiser

Music at Backpackers from a Michigander Cruiser

Early Morning Fog on the Rio Dulce -- Heading Back to the Ocean

Early Morning Fog on the Rio Dulce — Heading Back to the Ocean

Checking Out of Guatemala in Livingston

Checking Out of Guatemala in Livingston

 

Lake Atitlan

December 1, 2013 Posted by Deb

Panajachel

PanjachelOverAtitlanAfter a quick overnighter in Antigua, we grabbed an early shuttle for Panajachel and Jenna’s B&B. Jenna’s was the highest rated hotel/hostel/B&B we have ever seen. Deb saw a 100 percent five stars on TripAdvisor. We did a quick lap of Panajachel to try and find a sliver of anything we remembered from our two prior visits. Not a chance … massive changes to that area in the 19 years we’ve been away.

Panajachel-MarketBy this time, we were suffering from flu, cough and related complications. I started and probably gave it to Deb. Not only does that make travelling wonderful, we were gearing up for a week of Spanish classes in San Pedro and, since our Spanish sucks, needed more strength than we had.

San Pedro

san-pedro-la-laguna-lookingThe high marks our friends gave this town were well deserved.

DebChuckNicksPlace

DebNinaSanPedro

Our Walk Out the Door to School

Our Walk Out the Door to School

Deb in Class With Her Maestra, Lupita

Deb in Class With Her Maestra, Lupita

San Pedro was kind of a throwback to another time with narrow streets and lots of horses. Of course there were motorcycles and cars but they were all fairly quiet and moved slowly … either that or run over the people that were walking everywhere. The 20-something crowd was huge in San Pedro but this time, it looked like many of them had found a home and had been there for some time. We stayed at Sak’Cari for about $40 per night because it was next to the school. Most were living in San Pedro for much less. We stood in line at a cash machine and watched them take out cash in the neighborhood of 300 Quetzales. That’s not even $40 U.S. and they probably live on that longer than we do when we push the max at $2,000 Quetzales.

ChuckHammockSakCari

SnowonAtitlan

Volcan Pacaya

November 25, 2013 Posted by Deb

We grabbed a shuttle for Antigua, found out that our room at Casa Amarillo had not been booked, and ended up next door at Hotel Don Quixote. That night we signed up for a whirlwind active volcano hike (Pacaya) followed by a half day at a luxury spa (Santa Teresita).

Once again, we were 2.5 times the age of everyone on the tour except for one couple. The sign about 2/3 the way up the volcano got our attention. It read “You are now entering an extremely dangerous area.” That’s OK, the volcano was overdue for an eruption … overdue is kind of a Guatemalan tradition. We all kept going but a British couple went from being in the lead to the back of the pack and she looked a bit worried (and cold).

PacayaLava

Hike up Pacaya Volcano

Hike up Pacaya Volcano

DebHoodiePavaya

PacayaFogChuck

Lava Marshmallows

Lava Marshmallows

ChuckMarshmallows

Santa Teresita

We got stopped by the police for an ID check on the way back to Antigua from Volcan Pacaya.

Deb and I (plus one other) were the only ones that had our passports with us. I believe our driver paid the police off but not before we all got a lecture (in loud Spanish) about not having proper ID’s. We were dropped off next to a waiting shuttle to the spa and could hear most of the folks in the van ask why they hadn’t heard of that option. Deb did a great job putting that day together.

SpaDebStairs

DebSpa

ChuckSpa

Into Guatemala

November 22, 2013 Posted by Deb

The high school and college counselors don’t tell you to drop everything and run off to the middle of Guatemala for a year or so. Apparently hundreds or even thousands of 20 somethings and younger figured that out on their own.

We buttoned up the boat, packed, and grabbed a 2:30 p.m. shuttle for Semuc Champey for the famous Guatemalan disappearing river, caves, pools, and general gorgeous jungle stuff. The main route was closed so we beat the van and ourselves through what they call roads for six or seven hours until we ran out of gas about 3 km short of our hostel.

We got there, checked in, upgraded our room, grabbed an appetizer and beer and noticed the next oldest person for several miles in any direction was 28 and he was a veteran traveler on his last run before getting married.

View from Zephyr Lodge after our long, long trip to Lanquin

View from Zephyr Lodge after Our Long Bumpy Trip to Lanquin

ZephyrLodge2

Toilet Bowl

The cave started out moderately and escalated. The toilet bowl was the highlight for us followed closely by a climb up a ladder in the middle of an underground waterfall. The toilet bowl was an act of faith. A bunch of water disappeared down a hole and we were supposed to allow it to suck us straight down. The guide, in Spanish, said to give him our right hand across our chest as we slid in butt first but that we were to rotate 180 as we got sucked through. It worked and we fell into another chamber below. Most got a bit bloody at some point on the trip and we did have one broken tooth in our group, a girl from England.

We’ve been in lots of non-U.S. caves and knew what to wear (really good water shoes) and how to protect ourselves.

Entrance to the Cave

Entrance to the Cave

"No Way, Chuck"

“No Way, Chuck”

We Go Down There? You First@!

We Go Down There? You First@!

Into the Mist

Into the Mist

ChuckRopeSwing

ViewBridgeSemucChampey

Straight Down to the Pools at Semuc Champey

Straight Down to the Pools at Semuc Champey

ChuckDebTopSemucChampeyRiverSemucChampey

Pandora

Pandora

DebSemucPools

ChuckJumpSemuc

A New Record

The river resurfaced below the pools and the jump was about 50 feet. Of course, it wasn’t just a jump because you had to swim quickly across to an eddy before being taken over the rapids below. Three in our group jumped. … Lopez, the guy who did the back flip off the bridge, is a snowboarder. Instead of using the launching area the locals used, he took a run at the cliff, did a flying backflip, and completed it perfectly 50 feet later. The guides said that was a first.

LopezJumpSemuc